Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Opinion: Why Does Figure Skating Sometimes Cause Parents to Act Crazy?

I've been involved in figure skating as a skater, coach, and also a parent for over 50 years and I've made observations about the sport during all my years involved in our wonderful sport.

As I have observed what happens to the lives of figure skating families, I have determined that some skating parents change as they get more and more involved with the sport of figure skating, and that the changes that happen are not always positive changes.

When I have sat in the stands at a skating rink, watching my own children practice, parents of other figure skaters have chatted with me.  These interactions have almost always been conversations about our children.

Quite often, a parent who looks "so normal on the outside" might tell me what his or her family has sacrificed for figure skating.  These conversations almost always are similar.

Usually, these families have at least two or three children, and these families have relocated for skating or are considering relocating for the sport.  There's a father at home working one to three jobs supporting their children's skating passion and sometimes it seems that there is one "normal" child that has been left back home who wants nothing to do with the sport.  

Then, I'm told about how much money a family has spent on the sport and I learn about the child's goals,   I learn about the rink, skating club, and coaching changes that have been made and I also learn about the child's skating achievements.  I learn that the child is "doing school online" or the family has made special and/or untraditional arrangements for their child's education.  

Not always, but sometimes when I have these conversations, the parent may ask me about my own children's skating.  I have discovered that those questions are not always asked out of polite interest, but to compare my children's skating accomplishments to the child or children of the parent I've just met.  These parents sometimes have no interest in getting to know me, my children, or other skating families.

Usually, these conversations, which are similar in nature, do not leave me with a "warm-fuzzy" feeling; instead, I find these conversations draining. As time has passed, for my own well-being, I skate myself or take a bike ride (or scooter ride) instead of sitting in an ice arena's stands.

I asked a famous skating coach once why she thought figure skating seems to create "crazy skating parents," and her answer was that all those years of sitting inside a cold ice arena could make anyone crazy!

In my opinion, what causes parents of figure skaters to act crazy is that our sport costs so much money and takes up so much time.  Also, there is a desire to see our children be the best and the drive to become the best may unbalance a family's life.  I am sad when I hear that marriages may end because of figure skating.

Anyway, if you are a parent of a figure skater who is reading this, I recommend that you take the time to look at your reasons for your involvement in our sport.

Years from now, no one is going to remember or care if your child participated on the Junior Grand Prix Circuit, landed a triple, made "Nationals," or won a medal at a qualifying or non-qualifying competition.

Is your family's life balanced?  If so, that is great, but if not, take the time to step back and decide if figure skating may be making you act crazy.

Further Reading:

Monday, August 15, 2016

Skating with My Friend Rosie at Lakewood Ice 8/15/16

My friend Rosie has had an amazing life that should be put in a book...her father died when she was 13 and her mom died when she was 19 and Rosie suddenly became the "parent" to her four younger siblings and supported a family at such a young age.

Figure skating gave Rosie much happiness after she raised those four kids. She competed as an adult and passed her 2nd figure test and as time passed was away from skating, but has returned to the ice again!

She also impressed me so much today since I found out she became a stockbroker and has recently completed a Masters Degree!

I am so happy to be back in touch with Rosie!

Friday, August 5, 2016

Joel Climbs Mount Fuji in Japan!

My son Joel (and other members of the Disney On Ice Frozen cast) climbed Mount Fuji!

Joel wrote: "Survived mt fuji made it up in the mountain fairly quickly,but struggled a bit coming back down.Was an amazing experience,but never again.lol"